The Crap In My Life:: My Five Year Old Isn’t Potty Trained

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I’m just going to warn you this post is full of crap.

I don’t mean that this blog is of poor quality. I personally think the it’s quite fantastic, if I may toot my own horn.

The crap I’m talking about is good ole turds, poop, and/or dingleberries. Moms who are potty training see, smell and clean up a BUNCH of poop, all freaking day long. Sadly, I’m here to report, I have been potty training my five year old for two and a half years now. Yes, TWO AND A HALF YEARS, 912.5 days.

Let me tell you about Ryder and remind you that this is a non-judgment blog…this is a REAL mom blog


Ryder is a five year old boy who is bursting with energy. He is the oldest out of three. Ryder can be incredibly obsessive about things and could one day have a feature on the show Hoarders. He is also the sweetest and most caring little boy you may ever meet. Ryder has a contagious laugh and a smile that can make the sun shine bright on a dark day.

Now back to the crap

Ryder has been pee trained for those two and a half years. However, we just can’t get the pooping in the potty to work. There have been many times where I have felt as though I have failed him, that this is all my fault. Many days, I bite my tongue just so I do not say something awful or sarcastic to him about this situation. These are the days that break my heart, but they are reality.

In my head, pooping in the potty seems so miniscule in the big picture of life. I just don’t understand it. His younger brother Jett, was fully potty trained in a matter of days. Jett took to the concept so easily and is a pooping champ.

Ryder was enrolled in preschool this past year. My husband, Ben and I were unbelievably nervous and rightfully so. In his Pre-Kindergarten class there is no “pottying assistance.” If/when he has an accident I have to abandon my Target cart and run to school to pick Ryder up. I experience so much embarrassment when I get that single text from school. I can feel the preschool director and his teacher looking down upon me wondering how I could have messed up so bad.

Ryder will play, eat, and sleep with soiled undies until the stench fills the room and we are made known to ask him to “go take care of it.” “Go take care of it” has been officially coined as the code phrase in our family. All five of us know that when Ryder is told to “go take care of it,” the world will stop turning, a toilet will get clogged, and life will be miserable for about 10 minutes.

I keep telling myself it’s not my fault

You might be questioning how can I be so sarcastic and negative towards the situation. That’s purely because I have been cleaning up mini man poops almost every day for the past two years. My sarcasm is to cover up the hurt and judgement that this situation has caused. I have been given very little to no grace regarding Ryder’s issue. Many family members have pointed fingers and had the idea that they could “fix” his issue themselves if given the opportunity. You know, because I’m not being proactive enough. It took us living with my mom for about a month till she could fully understand how far beyond a “quick fix” Ryder truly is.

Going above the pediatrician

We have seen multiple pediatricians regarding Ryder pooping in his pants. Each of them gave their own two cents but it never fully worked. I will give you those tips below as a starting point if you are going through this issue.

Deep down my intuition kept telling me that it is beyond the pediatrician. I ended up begging our pediatrician for a referral to the Vanderbilt Children’s GI Clinic. From the moment the doctor started talking I knew we had discovered someone who understood us.

The diagnosis that we received, thanks to x-rays and further testing, is that Ryder has a very stretched out small intestine and rectum. Meaning that he physically can’t feel the poop till it is too late. The doctor believes that this problem began during the early stages of potty training when Ryder started to hold his poop. We are now on a pretty strict regimen of MiraLax and an antibiotic to make his poops soft so that the intestine can shrink back. For now, life is still gross, stinky, and stressful but I do believe that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, or at least there better be because I NEED this kid to start kindergarten next year.

Here are tips I have received along the way, maybe they will help you:

  • Make your child sit on the potty for 3 minutes after every meal
  • Offer rewards
  • Cut holes in the underwear, so they still feel secure
  • Keep them in pull ups (was not an option to me)
  • Give small doses of MiraLax everyday
  • Proving him “special” toilet paper he picked out
  • Disciplining him (not recommended)

Sorry, there is not secret

I wish this blog post contained a magical secret that would help your child poop in the potty for those going through the same thing. But sadly it doesn’t. All I can say is seek a doctor that will help, not just give you fluffy internet advice. Also, love your child. It’s okay if you need to be sarcastic about poop or even cry about it, but try to keep those emotions away from your child.

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